Hall of Fame
Basketball player at Father Ryan High School who had a major impact on helping to break the color barrier across the state of Tennessee
Believed to be the first African-American to play for a predominantly white high school team in the Nashville Interscholastic League (NIL), the state of Tennessee, and presumably the South
In December of 1963, Willie and his teammate, Jessie Porter, stepped on the court for Father Ryan and history was made
In his two-year career, the Irish posted a 52-6 record
In January of 1965, Willie led his team in a historic game against nationally touted Pearl High School in front of 8,300 fans at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium
Ryan’s game with Pearl was believed to be the first in the South between an African-American school and a predominantly white school
Willie was coached by TSSAA Hall of Fame member, Bill Derrick, during his time at Father Ryan
Other 2014 Inductees
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